The Andrews Labor Government will condemn Shepparton line passengers to the slow train for generations if it refuses to agree to a dedicated airport rail link.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan were in Shepparton today to call on Andrews to can Labor’s plan to do airport rail on the cheap.
Mr Walsh said Labor’s preferred option to use existing tracks between Sunshine and the city would create congestion and long delays.
“Shepparton passengers will be permanently condemned to slow and unreliable travel if Labor forges ahead with its plan to do airport rail on the cheap,” Mr Walsh said.
“Using existing lines will put more trains on lines that are already near capacity.
“Shepparton passengers will be locked out of Melbourne unless a new, dedicated line is built between Sunshine and the CBD.”
Ms Ryan said using existing tracks was short-sighted and would make it harder for country Victorians to get to appointments and meetings.
“We will only have one opportunity to get the airport rail link right,” Ms Ryan said.
“Regional train passengers will never forgive Daniel Andrews for the long delays and unreliable services if he refuses to commit to a dedicated airport rail.”
The proper construction of an airport rail link is critical to Victoria’s future rail infrastructure and a new, dedicated track will improve travel times for Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo line passengers.
“Connecting Shepparton into an airport rail link” has been on the cards since 2018, according to Labor’s Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan (Hansard 24 July 2018).
The Nationals’ Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum said the Shepparton community deserved a rail connection that would meet future demand.
“We need a fast, reliable rail connection to make sure Shepparton doesn’t miss out on the benefits of Victoria’s growing population,” Mr Drum said.
“Using existing track won’t realise this. Only a dedicated tunnel between Sunshine and the Melbourne CBD will get us where we need to be, when we need to be there.”